Road trips with your significant other can be a blast! Good music, and the right amount of sugary snacks can leave you feeling adventurous and awesome! They usually last about 3-4 hours, maybe 6, as that’s a good day of driving, but then everyone gets on with it. What about an 18hour car ride? It is after my experiment in car trip marathons that I write this to you dear reader. I am happy to say that after the smoke cleared me and my S.O emerged as a unit!
But I was intrigued to see just how 18 hours in the car is a fast-forwarded version of how your relationship progresses into the land of long term.
The Honeymoon Phase:
When you first get in the car, everyone is feeling excited! You are also pretty pleased to see that your co-pilot for this journey is pretty damn sexy! You pull on to that highway and everything is new! Car selfies are being posted every 50 minutes and the snacks are plentiful. Playing DJ is pretty fun, and OMG who knew you BOTH love that T-swift song! All the jokes are funny, and everyone is feeling bubbly. Ah the early days! Ain’t love grand?
The True Colors Phase:
Fast forward to 7 hours later. Snacks are starting to deplete, the amount of stops you are making become more seldom, and his jokes only elicit small chuckles, as opposed to the up roar of laughter that was hour 2. I relate this to about the one-year mark in relationships. Sure you still find each other attractive, you likely have heard most of the other person’s jokes and you laugh to be polite, but mostly it triggers a groan (how did you think that was funny 5 hours ago?).
The Officially Long-term Relationship Phase:
You just cant hide it when you haven’t been sleeping, or eating, and you had coffee on an empty stomach, and “oh my God I can’t hear that Taylor Swift song one more time!!!” I feel certain this why they recommend you travel with your S.O before tying the knot. Eventually you will see the grumpy, hungry, version of them. If you can’t handle the other person at their grouchiest then you may want to have a good think about things.
Now this is not a license to be a total A-hole because your partner should just put up with it if they love you. The only thing that can end a relationship faster than an 18-hour car trip is you being an asshole on the 18-hour car trip. So while everyone has their own quirks and allowances, I am going to offer some tips that will help pull you through the 18 hours, or hopefully 18 years.
- The Radio is NOT your friend. (Aka Compromise)
Remember how you sometimes like the country station, and he can’t get enough of that one punk band? Well the first couple times you have to listen to these sounds for each other it’s totally tolerable. But eventually the looping playlists on the radio will put a massive gap between “ I get why he likes this” to “ Hasn’t she killed enough of my brain cells already!?” Do yourselves a favour, and make a playlist that covers both your musical tastes and that won’t loop 18 times. Seriously people this is when weapons get pulled. Both musical interests MUST be included. YAY COMPROMISE!
- Hangry is a VERY real state of being
At first we work hard at making sure our bad moods are nearly undetectable. Written off with a smile or a quick change of subject that results in us scarfing down our tic tacs in the bathroom. As the relationship moves forward, we don’t work as hard to cover up those blips (or they can sneak up on us) which can result in very interesting behavior. First off don’t take it personally; the only reason you are fighting over how loud he breathes is because you have nothing in your stomach. So be prepared! When there is no place to pull over for food, it looks grim. Keep a Snickers hidden in your purse. This is bound to come up at least once in your relationship so, keep calm, don’t take it personally, and pass the Snickers.
- Forgiveness is Key
Even with the playlists and back up Snickers, there will be potholes and detours you can’t avoid. Your butt will fall asleep, and your legs will cramp up, you will hit traffic, or GPS might try to drive you into a lake, and you get lost. In short there will always be factors outside your control that will affect your relationship. Try to remember their good qualities at this juncture, and remember the circumstances will change, and hopefully that will keep you from saying things you might regret later. However sometimes we still cross that bridge. Saying you are sorry or accepting an apology are very powerful things, when feelings have been hurt (if it went beyond nasty words get out of the car and find your own way out of there but that’s another post). If you crossed the line, apologize and be sincere. If you were the one that was hurt, be sure to listen to the apology and then offer forgiveness; I guarantee that at some point you will need the same from them. Besides when you finally emerge from the vehicle, and get the space you need it will all seem silly anyway.
As always relationships offer the most insightful of information and that is “what is it that YOU want? Sometimes we realize we have it in front of us, even if it flawed, and other times we figure out that we were way off the mark. Either way it keeps building the best relationship you can have, and that is the one with yourself. Be true to that, and the rest are just guidelines.
Bon Voyage beauties!